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115 City Leaders, Practitioners and National Officials from Jordan and West Bank and Gaza Participate in Intensive 5-Day Training
From May 24-28, the World Bank and the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI), with support from other partners, convened the first Municipal Finance and Creditworthiness Academy for cities in the Middle East region. Following similar such events in Columbia, Korea, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda, mayors and financial managers from 20 Jordanian and 15 Palestinian municipalities gathered in Amman, Jordan, to participate in this 5-day interactive workshop. The Amman Academy aimed at strengthening local governments’ financial management practices, a key objective in a region where decentralization is a major development challenge. Overall, more than 115 participants attended, including national officials from several Jordanian and Palestinian ministries and from Municipal Development Funds.
The first municipal finance and creditworthiness academy organized in the Middle East:
Delivered by World Bank experts and consultants, including the former Chief Financial Officer of Washington D.C., Mr. Nat Gandhi, the Academy focused on practical training tailored to the specific country challenges Jordan and West Bank and Gaza are facing, which include: municipalities’ scarce own-source revenues; municipalities’ significant dependency on intergovernmental fiscal transfers (often considered insufficient and unpredictable); strong demands from the population for improved public services; and the need to develop pro-poor policies and programs in a very constrained budgetary context.
Main municipal finance challenges faced by participating municipalities:
The Academy dealt with the full range of factors affecting cities’ financial management performance, including issues determined by the national enabling environment and options for financing, including through public/ private partnerships (PPPs). Key topics included revenue management and enhancement; expenditure control and asset management; capital investment planning; resilience action planning; and debt management (see the Academy Agenda). During the Academy, participants completed municipal finance self-assessments which led to the development of customized draft action plans aimed at helping to improve the management of cities’ municipal finances and public services for the population.
The Amman Academy was characterized by strong engagement of participants….
… and participants strongly appreciated the academy and training provided.
The Bank is already deeply engaged on operations and technical assistance on these issues in both Jordan and West Bank and Gaza and the Academy was explicitly designed to complement ongoing policy dialogue the Bank is having in both countries. Opportunities for further collaboration are being explored and a second Academy Municipal Finance and Creditworthiness Academy in Middle East is being planned for 2016.
Stay tuned, for the full video interview series with additional perspectives and impressions: